The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kwara State Council, has waded into the feud between the spokesman of Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq, Rafiu Ajakaye, and two journalists in the state.
The council, in a statement on Saturday in Ilorin, by the Chairman and Secretary, Ahmed Abdullateef and Deacon Tayo Ayanda, that it was doing all it could to prevail on Ajakaye to withdraw the petition against two of its members, Dare and Abdulrasheed Akogun who were invited, interrogated, arraigned and subsequently detained at the Mandala Correctional Centre, Ilorin, over an allegation of defamation against his principal and his person in their posts on a popular WhatsApp platform.
Though the issue that triggered the petition to the police and subsequent prosecution in court was described as painful and most unfortunate, the State Council of NUJ has not rested on its oars in exploring an amicable settlement with the ultimate hope that the matter would be permanently laid to rest in no time.
“However, in the spirit of an injury to one is an injury to all, the leadership of the State Council of NUJ took it upon itself, for the past days, to ensure amicable resolution of the issue involving its members, Dare Akogun and his brother, Abdulrasheed Akogun, even though we chose not to make it public, prior.
“The National Secretariat of our Union had been properly briefed about the development and had also waded in.
“The union is using this opportunity to appreciate the State Government for the support given to journalists in the State and promised to sustain the harmonious relationship between the Union and the government.
“Likewise, the Kwara NUJ wishes to clarify that none of its members staged a protest at the Headquarters of the Kwara State Police Command, Ilorin in the early hours of Friday (October 14, 2022) over the detention of the said members of the Union, on the strength of the petition written by CPS to the Kwara State Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye,” the statement added.
The council said while it recognized that it is the exclusive preserve of people, who feel aggrieved to register their displeasure over the decision of the state police command to detain both Dare Akogun and Abdulrasheed Akogun, as constitutionally guaranteed, the public should be aware that no member of the state council of NUJ participated in the protest that allegedly culminated in the dispersal of the protesters.
The union has, over the years, been enjoying a good working relationship with the state police command and expects the collaboration to be sustained.
The Chief Press Secretary to the governor had petitioned the state police command to investigate a report allegedly posted on social media that the state government, through the spokesman and the governor, influenced the result of the last state council election, which led to the victory of Ahmed Abdullateef, a staff of The Herald newspapers as the chairman of the council.
The duo had alleged that the state government dolled out N15m to secure victory for the chairman of the council.
Following the petition filed by Rafiu Ajakaye, the state Police Commissioner, Paul Odama, waded in to ensure an amicable settlement of the matter by asking the duo of Rashid Akogun and Dare Akogun to apologize to the Chief Press Secretary and the governor, but they preferred that the matter be charged to court.